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Vote for the BCB Minor League Pitcher of the Month for April

Let’s honor the best pitchers in the minor leagues for the month of April

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Ryan Kellogg
Larry Kave/Myrtle Beach Pelicans

Yesterday we took time to honor the best position players in the Cubs minor league system over the month of April and today we’re going to honor the best pitchers for the first month of the 2019 season.

For those of you who have just tuned in or for those who just need a reminder, I pick one player from each of the minor league affiliates whom I think performed the best over the previous month. For the first two months until Eugene starts to play, I add in another “wild card” candidate so you’ll have five players to choose from. Then you vote for whichever one you think had the best month. You can pick whatever criteria you want, but I ask that you base your vote solely on what the player did over the previous month. This is an award for production, not for the player’s prospect ranking.

You still have a chance to vote for the Player of the Month until sometime this evening. I’ll announce the winner of the Player of the Month vote in tonight’s Minor League Wrap and the winner of the Pitcher of the Month vote in tomorrow night’s Wrap.

Clicking on a player’s name will take you to his page for more information. If you’re reading this on Apple News or Google AMP, you’ll have to go to the website to vote.

The nominees are:

Iowa Cubs right-hander Trevor Clifton:

Clifton got a lot of attention this spring for the tiny house he’s living in, but maybe he’ll get some more attention this summer for his tiny ERA instead.

Clifton got a slightly late start on the season, so he was on a pitch count in April. (Although he did throw 82 pitches in his May 1 start, so the training wheels are coming off now) But despite only throwing 11 23 innings over three starts and one relief appearance in May, Clifton earned this honor by not allowing a single earned run all month and only one unearned one. He struck out 16 batters in those 11 23 inning and held opposing hitters to a .171 batting average. His ERA was, of course, 0.00. The only real negative on Clifton in April, other than the limited innings, was that he walked nine batters. (Three of them were in a start that he didn’t allow a hit in, so that helps.)

Tennessee Smokies right-hander Cory Abbott:

Abbott made five starts in April and went at least five innings in all of them. He gave up just one run in three of them. He struck out at least five in four of them. Not only has he been good, he’s been consistent as well.

Abbott has allowed ten runs, nine earned, over 28 13 innings over his five starts. That translates to a 2-1 record with a 2.86 ERA. He impressively struck out 28 in April and only walked five while holding opposing hitters to a .259 batting average. The only real downside is that he’s already allowed three home runs, which actually isn’t bad, it’s just not as good as his other numbers.

Tennessee Smokies right-hander Tyson Miller:

Abbott and Miller have been an effective 1-2 punch for the Smokies, although they haven’t actually pitched on back-to-back nights this season. But Miller made four starts in April (and one on May 1, but that doesn’t count here) and he has yet to allow more than two runs in any start this season.

Miller logged 19 innings in those four April starts and went 1-1 with a 1.42 ERA. He only allowed three earned runs and one unearned one. He’s struck out 16 batters and walked just six while holding opposing batters to a .152 average. Despite being a flyball pitcher, he did not allow a single home run in April. (Or May, so far.)

Myrtle Beach Pelicans left-hander Ryan Kellogg:

Five of Kellogg’s six appearances in April were relief appearances, but they were of the “tandem starter” variety where a starting pitcher on a pitch count is paired with another pitcher who was scheduled after the starter is pulled after 2 to 4 innings. In any case, Kellogg’s 19 13 innings pitched were the second-most on the Pelicans, behind only Bryan Hudson.

Kellogg’s success in April was because he commanded the strike zone like no other Pelicans pitcher. Over those 19 13 innings, Kellogg struck out 15 batters and walked just one. (He hit just one batter as well.) That meant that he was able to put up a record of 1-1 with a 2.79 ERA despite allowing a .293 batting average against. Kellogg also only allowed one unearned run for the month.

South Bend Cubs right-hander Jeffrey Passantino:

All six of Passantino’s appearances in April came out of the bullpen but again, it was more of a “tandem start” situation and five of his six appearances were of three innings or more.

The secret to Passantino’s success was also his control. He pitched 17 23 innings in April and he struck out 25 batters and walked just two. (Passantino only hit one batter.) Passantino went 2-0 with a 2.55 ERA in April, and he didn’t allow any unearned runs either. Opposing hitters managed just a .239 batting average against Passantino. He allowed two home runs in April which again, isn’t bad but isn’t at the same level of excellence as the rest of his performance.


Who should be the BCB Minor League Pitcher of the Month for April?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    Iowa Cubs Trevor Clifton
    (35 votes)
  • 14%
    Tennessee Smokies Cory Abbott
    (18 votes)
  • 40%
    Tennessee Smokies Tyson Miller
    (50 votes)
  • 4%
    Myrtle Beach Pelicans Ryan Kellogg
    (6 votes)
  • 12%
    South Bend Cubs Jeffrey Passantino
    (16 votes)
125 votes total Vote Now